The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday used its so-called "shadow docket" to throw out a Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruling that adopted Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers's electoral map.
Slate legal columnist Mark Joseph Stern found himself utterly appalled at the decision, which he found all the more grotesque because the shadow docket doesn't even require justices to put their names on the decision they're supporting.
"This is an absolutely shocking decision," Stern wrote on Twitter. "The maps were adopted by a Republican justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This appeal was considered a Hail Mary, and it prevailed. I am stunned by this ruling."
Stern was also floored by the completely shallow legal analysis the court delivered to justify such a momentous decision.
"There is literally no discussion of the Purcell principle in the unsigned majority opinion — even though the majority has repeatedly used Purcell to prevent federal courts from altering election laws shortly before an election," he wrote. "Which is what the majority just did."
Election Law Blog's Rick Hasen similarly called the ruling "bizarre" and said that it signaled a "hostility" to the Voting Rights Act.
"So, to sum up: the Court used a case in an emergency procedural posture to reach out and decide an issue that could have waited for full briefing and argument either in a lower court in a challenge to the maps or if the Supreme Court had set the case for argument," he explained. "It decided these issues in ways hostile to minority voting rights without giving a full opportunity for airing out the issues and pointing out how this will further hurt voters of color. It continues to chip away at the Voting Rights Act without acknowledging that it is killing off the last major protection for minority voters from discriminatory districting plans."
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